Recently, I had a discovery meeting with a local artist. She’s insanely talented, and has been sought after by a number of interior designers for her custom pieces and beautiful work.
She reached out to me because she wanted to learn how she could effectively use social media to expand her reach and land more clients.
As the conversation progressed, however, and we really dug into her business, what I began to realize is social media strategy was not her biggest challenge.
The core issue was really her inability to consistently post on social and onboard new clients due to ALL the other small, yet mandatory, tasks involved with running her business.
While none of these tasks were complicated or time-consuming by nature (think: invoicing, managing email inboxes and client communication, scheduling, etc.) when added all together, they were consuming hours of her time and preventing her from focusing on her strengths—creating beautiful art and showing this art and her personal brand on social media.
After we discovered these business blocks that were leaving her feeling stressed out, the conversation moved in a progressive direction about how to scale her operations (yes, even as a one-person company) to free up her time and increase her brand position.
I shared with her four tips I’ve personally used to free up my time so I can focus on big picture items (like content creation, consulting, and high-paid speaking engagements). After implementing these strategies, I feel relaxed, inspired, and have actually booked more business than I did before, all while feeling less “busy.”
If you’re struggling with scaling your business and elevating your brand, start from the inside out by implementing these four strategies:
- Hire a Virtual Assistant
I hired a virtual assistant about a month ago. The prevailing reason was because I was struggling to take consistent action on social media. Between working with clients, hosting my live Tuesday marketing show, writing blog posts about the show (like the one you’re reading now), creating statuses that were appropriate for all three channels I’m on, crafting email campaigns, and updating my site, I was losing my mind and running about two weeks behind on my own marketing strategy.
Once I hired my virtual assistant, Melissa, all I have to do is write the content and decide the posts and she handles the implementation of EVERYTHING else.
She’s AMAZING. She meticulously sets up landing pages, email campaigns, onboards new clients and schedules their appointments, and even acts as a sounding board for when I need a powerful partner in brainstorming. Her ability to handle the small tasks has given me hours back in my day to focus on big-ticket, income-generating activities.
Better yet, if I’m having a manic day, I don’t worry about missing a daily social post. It just happens and leads flow to my inbox because she’s on top of it.
Aside from business tasks, she also handles various activities from my personal life. She books dentist appointments, buys gifts for people, books my travel, even pays my parking tickets (oops.) She does everything! Basically, I just decided what I really love doing in life and I outsourced all the rest.
- Chunk out redundant tasks— Only check email and phone calls twice a day. Only take meetings two days a week. Develop all social content in one sitting, etc.
As small business owners, we have a tendency to do everything, ALL the time with no set self-regulating schedule. Take the artist for example, she has some high-paying clients in the DC metro area. As anyone familiar with the DC area can attest, traffic is downright diabolical to deal with. It can consume HOURS of time, especially if you’re driving from Baltimore.
I suggested she start chunking DC client meetings together. Instead of booking appointments at the client’s convenience, she instead should appoint “DC days”, twice a month (or more if necessary). That way she can get all of her DC appointments in a back-to-back manner on the same day, only requiring her to drive down twice a month instead of multiple different times.
This saves her hours of time in traffic and positions her time as more valuable since she is having clients work with her schedule instead of catering to theirs.
Now, this is not about poor customer service, this is about branding yourself as an expert. Think about the nation’s top thought leaders. Do you think Jim Rohn is eagerly hopping on a plane because you want him in your office next week? No! You hear that he isn’t available until late 2017 because he’s so in-demand, and you jump to pay premium prices to lock him down before someone snatches his time.
If you are branding yourself as an expert, you need to realize your time is premium and start treating it as such.
While uncomfortable the first few times you try it out, you will see your own perception of yourself start to positively shift, and you’ll notice the same in your customers. This is not called being egotistical—this is called creating demand and realizing your own self-worth as a professional.
- Get a scheduling app— So much time is wasted exchanging emails about scheduling meetings.
Photo Courtesy of Calendly
This is super straightforward. By my own personal count, no less than 2-3 emails are typically involved when it comes to scheduling meetings.
Get straight to the point by having clients and prospects select times from a scheduling app that shows your availability. I use http://www.scheduleonce.com/ and many of my coaching and consulting clients use https://calendly.com/.
Both are great, both integrate with your calendar to provide live updates, and both position you as uber professional.
- Package/brand your products and service offerings—
Time is wasted qualifying. Time is wasted recreating proposal after proposal. You need to come up with standard packages for your services and products. They should include minimum rates and you should send it over to prospects when they inquire about working with you.
This will save you from wasting time on discovery calls only to find out that the prospects’ needs and budget don’t align with your offerings.
Having packaged products and services also denotes a level of credibility. When you have proven methods and they are branded, people see that you aren’t simply “winging” it and you know what you’re doing.
As I said before, after implementing these four tasks, I had my highest-grossing month in business and felt more relaxed than I had in months.
My own level of self-respect increased, and I’m now spending time only doing things I really love that leave me with MORE energy to create and execute.
I challenge you to take these tips on in December and see the results you experience. It’s a fun exercise to position yourself powerfully for the new year.
After testing, leave a comment below about how these methods have worked out for you. If you’ve already implemented some of them, leave a comment below with tips or suggestions for others.